Sunday, March 06, 2005

The 8th and 9th Inning- Protected Through 2007

My associate Mr. Mosvick touched on this in his post yesterday, but I thought I would dedicate a little more time to a move the Twins made this weekend that I find very intriguing. The Twins gave two-year extensions to setup man Juan Rincon as well as All-Star closer Joe Nathan. The two-year, $1.4 million deal for Rincon does not surprise me nearly as much as the deal that will keep Nathan in a Twins uniform through 2007 with a club option for 2008. Judging by the team's history, I was almost sure the Twins would try to get one more great season out of Nathan, who is now widely considered to be one of the top 5 or 6 closers in baseball, and then let him go grab the big bucks in free agency. It would make sense, since they have a replacement in the form of Jesse Crain waiting in the wings. But by giving Nathan this two-year, $10 million extension, the team has really shown me something. They are not content to stop with just locking up their best starters like Johan Santana and Brad Radke for the next few years, they want to keep this whole pitching staff together. Moves like that are what will give this team a serious chance to win a championship within the next couple years.